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Trump Archives — Page 4 of 15 — Protect Our Care

Why Vermonters’ Insurance Is Getting Even More Expensive: The Trump Administration and Washington Republicans Keep Sabotaging Health Care

Washington, D.C. – As preliminary Vermont rate filings for 2019 individual-market health insurance indicated potential double-digit premium increases due to Washington Republicans’ repeal-and-sabotage agenda, Protect Our Care Campaign Director Brad Woodhouse released the following statement:

“For the past year and a half, President Trump and his Republican allies in Congress have engaged in a deliberate, aggressive campaign to undermine health care and now families in Vermont are being asked to pay the price. While insurance companies make huge profits and enjoy record tax breaks from Republicans, they are planning to charge working families even more. Until we stop Republicans’ war on health care, health care experts predict that rates will keep rising by double digits. Washington Republicans should start working on bipartisan solutions to make coverage more affordable, instead of helping their friends in the insurance industry make another buck on the backs of hardworking Vermonters.”

From the Insurance Companies:

Blue Cross Blue Shield Vermont: Federal Actions Are Responsible For 2.2 Percent Premium Increases. Recent federal legislation also eliminated the penalty associated with the individual mandate. As a result, it is expected that a number of healthy individuals will choose to forgo coverage and leave the single risk pool. This is expected to exert an upward pressure of 2.2 percent on premium rates. [BCBS, 5/14]

Why Vermonters’ Insurance Is Getting Even More Expensive: The Trump Administration and Washington Republicans Keep Sabotaging Health Care

While spending most of last year trying to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and waging a war on our health care, President Trump and Republicans in Congress have also used their control of Washington to actively undermine the Health Insurance Marketplaces every chance they get – leading insurance companies to raise premiums for 2018 and 2019 and, in some cases, forcing them out of the individual market altogether. Washington Republicans’ goal is simple: sabotage and undermine the Affordable Care Act, then blame everyone but themselves for the consequences of their actions. President Trump keeps rooting for disaster, saying that “The best thing we can do…is let Obamacare explode” and “Let it be a disaster because we can blame that on the Democrats.

Now, initial rate filings in Vermont forecast double-digit rate hikes again this fall because of Republican sabotage.

Republicans never ended their war on our health care. After Congress failed to repeal the Affordable Care Act, the Trump Administration is aggressively sabotaging our health care system and refusing to work to make coverage better and more affordable.

  • Experts from AARP, the Congressional Budget Office, and a wide range of other nonpartisan organizations agree that Republican actions are forcing up health care costs.
  • Republicans in Congress are supporting the Administration’s many actions to undermine health care, despite widespread opposition from patient and disease groups, doctors, nurses, hospitals, plus health care and consumer advocates.
  • The Trump Administration officials keep rewriting the rules to let big insurance companies cover fewer and fewer services while charging people more and more. The sabotage doesn’t stop there: last year the Administration fired many of the community assisters who help people enroll in health care; this year they are planning more enrollment cuts, making it even harder to sign up for coverage.
  • And now, Republicans are encouraging insurance companies to sell more junk plans that don’t have to cover basic care like hospitalization and prescription drugs, and that are allowed to charge people with pre-existing conditions more or even deny them coverage altogether.

The Trump Administration’s sabotage will punish Americans by jacking up premiums again, compounding the damage done last year, when Republican sabotage pushed rates up by a national average of 37%.

  • The Republican tax bill’s repeal of a key Affordable Care Act provision and the Trump Administration’s junk plan proposal will increase individual market premiums in Vermont by an average 12.2 percent this fall, according to a recent Urban Institute study.
  • This sabotage-driven rate hike will make the damage Republicans inflicted last year through repeal attempts and sabotage even worse.
  • Higher premiums will mean fewer working families can afford coverage: during the first year of the Trump Administration, millions more Americans joined the ranks of the uninsured – the highest increase since Gallup started tracking the uninsured rate.

This could have been avoided: if Republicans had stopped sabotaging health care, American families wouldn’t be facing another huge increase this fall.

  • Even the Trump Administration has admitted that the Affordable Care Act’s insurance marketplaces had been stabilizing prior to them coming into office.
  • The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office had predicted only modest rate increases if Republicans hadn’t sabotaged the markets.
  • Even Senate Republicans admitted this fall’s upcoming rate hikes were “avoidable,” but then they torched bipartisan stabilization talks at the last minute, prioritizing partisan politics over their last opportunity to help American families afford health care next year.

Vermonters Won’t Forget That Republicans And The Trump Administration Keep Forcing Up Health Care Costs To Score Political Points.

  • Health care costs are a top issue in nearly every major issue-ranked poll in 2018.
  • Voters overwhelmingly trust Democrats over Republicans on health care costs.
  • In poll after poll, voters resoundingly reject President Trump and Congressional Republicans’ repeal-and-sabotage campaign against the Affordable Care Act.

Despite Republican Sabotage, The Affordable Care Act Has Improved Vermonters’ Care.

  • 28,763 Vermonters signed up for Marketplace coverage this year.
  • Thanks to the Marketplace and Medicaid expansion, Vermont’s uninsured rate fell by 2.6 percent between 2013 and 2016 as Vermonters have gained access to affordable coverage.
  • Before today’s announcement, the Urban Institute predicted that Vermont premiums for 2019 could rise 12.2 percent more because of the Trump Administration’s junk plan proposal and the Republican tax bill’s repeal of a key Affordable Care Act coverage incentive.
  • Even despite sabotage, Affordable Care Act subsidies help keep coverage affordable for 79 percent of Vermont Marketplace consumers, whose average 2018 premium is $192 per month.
  • But because of the Republican sabotage agenda, many middle-income Vermonters could pay hundreds or thousands of dollars more than they would have otherwise.

KEY QUOTES

Former HHS Secretary Tom Price: GOP Actions Responsible For Premium Increases. “President Trump’s former top health official on Tuesday said the Republican tax law would raise the cost of health insurance for some Americans because it repealed a core provision of the Affordable Care Act. Tom Price, Trump’s first secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, said people buying insurance on government-run marketplaces will face higher prices because the tax law repealed the ACA’s individual mandate. The mandate had forced most Americans to have health coverage or face a financial penalty. ‘There are many, and I’m one of them, who believes that that actually will harm the pool in the exchange market, because you’ll likely have individuals who are younger and healthier not participating in that market, and consequently that drives up the cost for other folks within that market,’ Price said at the World Health Care Conference in Washington.” [Washington Post, 5/1/18]

Cigna: Policies Advocated By The Trump Administration Causing Premium Increases. “Two of Virginia’s ObamaCare insurers are requesting significant premium hikes for 2019, according to initial filings released Friday. Both Cigna and CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield cited policies advocated by the Trump administration, including the repeal of ObamaCare’s individual mandate, as part of its justifications for the increases. Cigna is proposing an average premium increase of 15 percent for its 103,264 customers in Virginia, with a range of increases from 6.4 percent to 40 percent. CareFirst is proposing a 64 percent increase for its approximately 4,500 customers in the commonwealth, citing an increase in sicker people entering the marketplace.” [The Hill, 5/4/18]

Commonwealth Fund: Rollback Of Health Insurance Gains Spurred By “Actions By The Current Administration.” “The marked gains in health insurance coverage made since the passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in 2010 are beginning to reverse, according to new findings from the latest Commonwealth Fund ACA Tracking Survey. The coverage declines are likely the result of two major factors: 1) lack of federal legislative actions to improve specific weaknesses in the ACA and 2) actions by the current administration that have exacerbated those weaknesses. These include the administration’s deep cuts in advertising and outreach during the marketplace open-enrollment periods, a shorter open enrollment period, and other actions that collectively may have left people with a general sense of confusion about the status of the law. Signs point to further erosion of insurance coverage in 2019: the repeal of the individual mandate penalty included in the 2017 tax law, recent actions to increase the availability of insurance policies that don’t comply with ACA minimum benefit standards, and support for Medicaid work requirements.” [Commonwealth Fund, 5/1/18]

New York Times: “Rather Than Trying To Eliminate Obamacare In One Fell Swoop, [Republicans Are] Trying To Undermine It With Multiple Acts Of Sabotage – While Hoping Voters Won’t Realize Who’s Responsible For Rising Premiums And Falling Coverage.” “At the beginning of 2017, Republicans promised to release the kraken on Obamacare — to destroy the program with one devastating blow. But a funny thing happened: Voters realized that repealing the Affordable Care Act would mean taking health insurance away from tens of millions of Americans. They didn’t like that prospect — and enough Republicans balked at the backlash that Obamacare repeal fizzled. But Republicans still hate the idea of helping Americans get health care. So instead of releasing the kraken, they’ve brought on the termites. Rather than trying to eliminate Obamacare in one fell swoop, they’re trying to undermine it with multiple acts of sabotage — while hoping voters won’t realize who’s responsible for rising premiums and falling coverage.” [NYT, 5/8/18]

New York Times Editorial Board: “The Administration’s Health Care Sabotage Efforts Have Already Had A Big Impact”: A 30-Percent Premium Increase. “The administration’s health care sabotage efforts have already had a big impact — but not the kind of impact officials promised. Insurance companies raised average premiums for 2018 A.C.A. policies by 30 percent. This has mostly hurt middle-class families who have to pay full freight for health insurance because they make too much money to qualify for subsidies and don’t get coverage through their employer. Few experts were surprised when the Commonwealth Fund found that the percentage of American adults who did not have health insurance jumped to 15.5 percent this year, from 12.7 percent before Mr. Trump took office. Experts say those numbers could climb higher still when the penalty for not having insurance goes away next year.” [NYT, 5/3/18]

Washington Post Editorial Board: “The Numbers Suggest That [The ACA’s] Critics’ Sabotage Efforts Are To Blame. “The effects of the president’s underinformed instincts, enabled by the ideologues in his administration, are beginning to show up in some of the numbers, representing real pain that Americans are suffering for Mr. Trump’s deficient leadership… Obamacare critics regularly describe all problems as the inevitable result of a poorly designed law. But the numbers suggest that the critics’ sabotage efforts are to blame. After impressive declines during President Barack Obama’s second term, the fund found that the uninsured rate increased in both of the years Mr. Trump has been in office. During the campaign, Mr. Trump regularly complained that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) left too many Americans uncovered. The result of nearly a year and a half of Mr. Trump’s leadership is 4 million people added to that group.” [Washington Post, 5/8/18]

America’s Health Insurance Plans: Republican Sabotage Will “Drive Up The Rate Of Premium Increases.” “Policies that disproportionately draw healthy consumers away from the individual market, like expanding access to short-term plans, will likely have an even more devastating effect on affordability, choice and competition. This will further result in adverse selection, drive up the rate of premium increases, and exacerbate affordability issues for many other people.” [America’s Health Insurance Plans Letter to HHS, 4/20/18]

CEO of CareFirst Blue Cross Blue Shield: Things Are “Materially Worse” Under Trump. “Continuing actions on the part of the administration to systematically undermine the market and make it almost impossible to carry out the mission…If continued efforts at the federal level undermine the marketplaces, I would think the board would have to examine what they would want — that’s very much on their mind.” [Washington Post, 5/1/18]

Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey: 2018 Premium Increase Was Due To Federal Policy.Three factors connected to federal policy decisions are responsible for 14.7% of the 24.3% total average individual premium increase: Weakened enforcement of the Individual Mandate…Elimination of federal funding for Cost Sharing Reductions (CSR), [and] 2018 reinstatement of Health Insurance Tax…Were it not for the three factors within the control of the Federal Government, Horizon BCBSNJ’s individual premiums would have an average increase of 9.6%.” [Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey, 10/17/17]

Lindsey Graham: Republicans “Own The Outcome” On Health Care. “Sen. Graham told Breitbart News, ‘In October, premiums are going up. Obamacare cannot be fixed. It’s going to continue to collapse, and then, we own the outcome. By repealing the individual mandate, which is a step forward in the eyes of the public, we own the issue. We have a responsibility to do something about the collapsing Obamacare system. I believe that we’re going to get blamed more than Democrats because we stopped trying to repeal Obamacare, and to suggest that we don’t own it is just simply politically naive.’ Graham continued, ‘It can hurt us in 2018. It can hurt by our base feeling like we betrayed them. It can hurt us from people suffering from Obamacare, like we don’t have a solution. It will energize Democrats. It can undercut everything we did on the tax cut side.’” [Breitbart, 2/6/18]

Rep. Charlie Dent: “We, The Republican Party…Own” Health Care Now. “Rep. Charlie Dent (R-Pa.) argued Friday that President Trump was ‘ill-advised’ to end key ObamaCare payments, warning that the GOP now ‘owns’ whatever happens to ObamaCare. ‘I think the president is ill-advised to take this course of action because … we, the Republican Party, will own this,’ Dent, a key House moderate who is retiring from Congress at the end of his term, said on CNN. Asked about Trump’s previous comments blaming problems with ObamaCare on former President Barack Obama, Dent pointed out that Republicans currently control the White House and have majorities in both chambers of Congress. ‘Barack Obama is a former president. President Trump is the president and he’s a Republican, and we control the Congress,’ Dent said. ‘So we own the system now. We’re going to have to figure out a way to stabilize this situation … This is on us.’” [The Hill, 10/13/17]

Washington Post: “The Pottery Barn Rule Comes To Mind: You Break It, You Own It.” “This is not ‘letting’ Obamacare fail. Many nonpartisan experts believe that these active measures are likely to undermine the pillars of the 2010 law and hasten the collapse of the marketplaces. The Pottery Barn rule comes to mind: You break it, you own it. Yes, the plate you just shattered had some cracks in it. But if you dropped it on the ground, the store is going to blame you.” [Washington Post, 10/13/17]

Washington Post: “Trump’s Not Going To Be Able To Avoid Blame For Kneecapping Obamacare.” [Washington Post, 10/13/17]

“After Months Of Pinning The Blame For Obamacare’s Shortcomings On Democrats And Watching His Own Party Fail To Act, President Donald Trump Just Took Ownership Of A Struggle That’s Consumed Republicans For Seven Years.” “After months of pinning the blame for Obamacare’s shortcomings on Democrats and watching his own party fail to act, President Donald Trump just took ownership of a struggle that’s consumed Republicans for seven years. Trump’s decision late Thursday to end government subsidies to insurers to help lower-income Americans afford to use their coverage under the Affordable Care Act was the most drastic step he’s taken to undermine his predecessor’s signature achievement. It also lobbed a live bomb into the laps of Republicans lawmakers 13 months before congressional elections after he publicly berated the party’s Senate leadership for being unable to keep a longstanding promise to repeal the law.” [Bloomberg, 10/13/17]

The American People Agree: President Trump And Congressional Republicans Are Playing Politics With People’s Health Care.  A poll conducted last September found that 61 percent of voters believed President Trump was “trying to make the Affordable Care Act fail,” and 64 percent of voters said Trump is “playing politics with people’s health care.” The poll also found that the American people seriously disapprove of how Republicans in Congress are treating health care: 80 percent of voters disapprove while only 20 percent approve. [Hart Research, 9/5/17]

“The Health Industry Appears Unfazed”: President Trump’s Phony Prescription Drug Speech Not Getting Better with Age

President Trump’s widely-panned prescription drug pricing speech continues to earn poor reviews for choosing big drug companies over everyday Americans. The early reviews of the speech were not kind, with headlines ranging from “Looks Nothing Like What He Promised” to “Lets Drug Companies Off the Hook,” and they haven’t let up. As HHS Secretary Alex Azar attempts to cover the Administration’s tracks with his own speech this morning, here are some late-breaking headlines about Trump’s tone-deaf speech:

Washington Post: Trump’s drug price retreat adds to list of abandoned populist promises

Washington Post: The health industry appears unfazed by Trump’s drug pricing speech

Bloomberg: Drug Industry Dodges Its Worst Fears in Trump’s Plan to Lower Prices

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Experts say Trump’s prescription to reduce drug prices is not what the doctor ordered

PharmTech: Trump Drug Pricing Plan Outlines Rule Changes Pharma Can Live With

Fox News: Trump’s new prescription drug plan is incomplete — here are two ways to make it better

STAT News: Trump promised to bring pharma to justice. His speech sent drug stocks soaring

McKnight’s Long-Term Care News: Trump prescription plan doesn’t include Medicare-negotiated pricing

The American Prospect: To Bring Drug Prices Down, Trump Proposes — Nothing, Really

Fortune: Why Trump’s Big Drug Price Speech Sent Health Care Stocks Soaring

“Big Pharma Gets A Big Win”: Trump’s Phony Prescription Drug Speech By the Headlines

Yesterday, President Trump once again choose big drug companies over everyday Americans. His plan broke his promise to do the one thing that would lower prices for tens of millions, allow Medicare to negotiate for a fair price, and its clear winners were the nation’s largest pharmaceutical companies, which saw their stock prices surge after his remarks. Here’s how it was covered, by the headlines:

Wall Street Journal: Trump’s Plan to Cut Drug Prices Leaves Industry Relieved

Bloomberg: Trump’s ‘Sweeping’ Drug-Price Plan Comes Up Short

Reuters: RPT-Trump plan for drug prices seen largely sparing industry

Huffington Post: Trump’s Plan On Prescription Drug Prices Looks Nothing Like What He Promised

Associated Press: President Trump’s Plan to Lower Drug Prices Spares Pharma Industry

Yahoo Finance: Trump lets drug companies off the hook

The Atlantic: Big Pharma Gets a Big Win From Trump

Washington Examiner: Big Pharma largely unscathed by Trump’s drug-price crackdown

Bio Pharma Dive: Pharma breathes easy as Trump’s drug pricing plan fizzles

Chicago Tribune: Trump’s plan to reduce drug prices doesn’t include campaign pledge to allow Medicare to negotiate prices

Endpoints News: Trump’s ‘sweeping action’ to lower drug prices mocked by analysts as relieved investors trigger rally in Big Pharma stocks

Vice: Trump Officially Backed Out of His Own Plan to Make Drugs Cheaper

Kaiser Health News: Trump Vows (Again) To Lower Drug Prices But Skeptics Doubt Much Will Change

Investor’s Business Daily: Biopharma Stocks Fly As Trump Speech Seen As ‘More Bark Than Bite’

San Francisco Chronicle: Editorial: Trump’s new drug price strategy won’t change the status quo

New York Daily News: Our opinion: Trump’s bitter pill: His prescription drug plan is weak in one of the most important areas

As Insurance Companies Cite “Policies Advocated By The Trump Administration,” Virginians Face Republican-Inflicted Rate Hikes

On Friday, preliminary Virginia rate filings for 2019 individual-market health insurance indicated a potential double-digit average premium increase due to Washington Republicans’ repeal-and-sabotage agenda. What’s behind this spike? In the words of the insurance companies themselves, “policies advocated by the Trump Administration” are driving the increases. It’s the latest consequence of the GOP’s repeal-and-sabotage campaign. Here’s some early coverage:

Senators Mark Warner And Tim Kaine: “These Proposed Price Increases Are A Painful Consequence Of The Trump Administration’s Efforts To Sabotage The Health Insurance Market And Dismantle The Affordable Care Act.” “These proposed price increases are a painful consequence of the Trump Administration’s efforts to sabotage the health insurance market and dismantle the Affordable Care Act. After a series of unsuccessful attempts to repeal the ACA, President Trump and Republicans in Congress settled for taking actions that will increase premium costs for American families, something even Trump’s former HHS Secretary admitted this week. Now, their irresponsible games are hurting Virginians by making it harder for families to afford health care. We hope our colleagues will take this seriously and pass bipartisan legislation to stabilize the market and make sure Virginians have affordable options for health insurance in 2019.” [Senator Tim Kaine, 5/4]

Rep. Don Beyer: “This Is A Scandal And A Disgrace And Virginians Are Going To Be Hurt Very Badly.” “Awful healthcare news for Virginia. Last year we stopped Trump/GOP attempts to repeal the ACA and strip health insurance from 23 million people. They responded by sabotaging the healthcare system. We just learned that this is going to cause Virginians’ premiums to skyrocket. ‘Skyrocket’ = double-digit increases, up to 64%, depending on your insurer and plan. There is no way to sugarcoat these health insurance premium hikes: they are across different insurers, they are devastating, and many will not be able to afford them. Why is this happening? The insurers themselves attribute it to Republican actions… This is a scandal and a disgrace and Virginians are going to be hurt very badly, especially those who can least afford it. It is so infuriating… Congress must act immediately to undo the Trump/GOP sabotage and take steps to rein in costs. It is still possible to help if we work together for solutions. Right now this is awful news for Virginians, but we will not be the only ones. Americans in other states will feel the same pain of health premium increases, and some may get hit even harder. The GOP did this on purpose. They have to let us fix it.” [Twitter, 5/4]

Virginian-Pilot: “Cigna And CareFirst Said Trump Administration Policies, Including The Repeal Of The Individual Mandate, Led To The Proposed Increases.” “Two of the insurance companies that participate in Affordable Care Act exchanges in Virginia are seeking clearance for large increases in premiums for next year…  Cigna and CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield are two of seven insurers that offer policies under what is known as Obamacare… Cigna and CareFirst said Trump administration policies, including the repeal of the individual mandate, led to their proposed increases. Cigna said it anticipates sicker people entering the market, a result of the individual mandate being repealed. Cigna also cited ‘anticipated changes to regulations’ involving short-term plans and association health plans as a reason for the requests.” [Virginian-Pilot, 5/4]

The Hill: Insurers “Cited Policies Advocated By The Trump Administration” As Justification For Increases. “Two of Virginia’s ObamaCare insurers are requesting significant premium hikes for 2019, according to initial filings released Friday. Both Cigna and CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield cited policies advocated by the Trump administration, including the repeal of ObamaCare’s individual mandate, as part of its justifications for the increases… The pro-ObamaCare group Protect Our Care Campaign was quick to attack the administration following the news. ‘Until we stop Republicans’ war on health care, health care experts predict that rates will keep rising by double digits,’ said the group’s director, Brad Woodhouse. ‘D.C. Republicans should start working on bipartisan solutions to make coverage more affordable, instead of helping their friends in the insurance industry make another buck on the backs of hardworking Virginians.’” [The Hill, 5/4]

Fierce Healthcare: Premiums Could Rise 64% “And Insurers Are Blaming President Donald Trump And Congressional Republicans.” “Premium increases for exchange plans could swell as much as 64% in Virginia next year if proposed rate hikes hold up. And insurers are blaming President Donald Trump and Congressional Republicans. According to preliminary filings submitted on Friday, two of Virginia’s largest ACA insurers, Cigna and CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield, are requesting significant premium hikes for next year in response to planned policy changes by the Trump administration and the GOP’s repeal of the individual mandate… The insurers cited repeal of the individual mandate and ‘anticipated changes to regulations’ to short-term health plans as reasons for the drastic increases. Congressional Republicans repealed the mandate last year as part of its tax overhaul, and the Trump administration has moved to extend the short-term health plan duration to 12 months. Both policies are projected to drive younger, healthier people from the markets, raising premiums for those who remain.” Fierce Healthcare, 5/6]

Politico: “This Time It’s Democrats Taking Advantage Of The Proposed Spikes To Blame President Donald Trump And Hill Republicans, Arguing They Have Taken Several Actions That Will Destabilize Insurance Markets.” “The initial glimpse of premium increases is predictably prompting political jockeying that will continue throughout the summer and fall as officials finalize next year’s prices. Unlike prior years, this time it’s Democrats taking advantage of the proposed spikes to blame President Donald Trump and Hill Republicans, arguing they have taken several actions that will destabilize insurance markets.” [Politico, 5/7]

Andy Slavitt, Former Acting CMS Administrator: “Trump Is Giving Insurance Companies Unfettered Ability To Charge What They Want, Deny What They Want, Cover What They Want, And Make Unlimited Profits.” [Twitter, 5/5]

Larry Levitt, Kaiser Family Foundation: “With Insurers Now Mostly Profitable In The ACA Individual Insurance Market, I Would Have Expected Single-Digit Premium Increases For 2019 Reflecting Health Cost Growth. With Repeal Of The Individual Mandate And Expansion Of  Short-Term Plans, Double-Digit Hikes Are Now Likely.” [Twitter, 5/7]

Joe Scarborough: “This Is A Coming Sign Of The Times That Will Haunt A Republican Party That Sabotaged America’s Health Care System Instead Of Replacing Or Reforming It.” [Twitter, 5/6]

Charles Gaba, ACA Signups: “For Anyone Who Doesn’t Believe The Latest Batch Of [Sabotage] By Trump Isn’t Gonna Jack Rates Up Next Year, I’ve Already Got Receipts Out Of Virginia.” [Twitter, 5/6]

Jon Favreau: “Enjoy Premium Hikes Of 64%, Brought To You By Republican Control Of Washington. And That Number Will Climb Even Higher If Republicans Keep Congress And Continue To Sabotage The Affordable Care Act In 2019.” [Twitter, 5/4]

David Certner, AARP: “Steps Could (And Should) Have Been Taken This Past Year To Hold Down Health Care Premiums. Instead, The Reverse Has Happened, And Now Insurers In Virginia Propose Major Premium Hikes For 2019.” [Twitter, 5/6]

Republicans Knew Premiums Would Go Up When They Sabotaged Your Health Care, But They Did It Anyway

For the past year and a half, Republicans have waged a non-stop war against the Affordable Care Act. Throughout 2017, Republicans tried time after time to repeal the Affordable Care Act, slashed funding for outreach, ended cost-sharing reduction payments that helped low income Americans afford health care, and passed a tax bill that the Congressional Budget Office predicts will strip health care from 13 million Americans and raise premiums by double digits.  

Throughout their many layers of sabotage, Republicans have played ignorant, trying to cover up the fact that their votes will send Americans’ premiums skyrocketing. Just this morning, former HHS Secretary Tom Price called out Republicans’ lies, saying that the tax bill’s repeal of the individual mandate “will harm the pool in the exchange market, because you’ll likely have individuals who are younger and healthier not participating in that market, and consequently, that drives up the cost for other folks within that market.”

Just one month after voting for a tax bill that the CBO projected would raise insurance premiums by double digits, Sen. Ted Cruz acted as though he had wanted to lower premiums the whole time: “I think lowering premiums is a win-win for everybody…The number one reason people despise Obamacare is that premiums have skyrocketed.” As much as Republicans try to distance themselves from it, the fact of the matter is clear: they knew they were voting to raise premiums, and they chose to do it anyway.

EACH STEP OF THE WAY, EXPERTS WARNED THAT SABOTAGE WOULD DRIVE PREMIUMS UP

The Trump Administration Deliberately Tried To Reduce Enrollment Of Healthy Individuals By Halting Outreach, Despite Commonly Understood Consequence That This Would Increase Premiums.

  • January 2017: In “Transparent Effort To Damage Stability Of Health Insurance Marketplace,” President Trump Abruptly Halts Open Enrollment Ads. In the final week of open enrollment, President Trump ended ads that let people know they could sign up for the Affordable Care Act. As Politico notes, “The last five days of the open enrollment season are seen as critical because many individuals procrastinate and then join a last-minute sign-up surge. That’s particularly true for younger and healthier customers who are crucial to making insurance markets work.”
  • February 2017: Analysis Shows Trump’s Cuts To Outreach Prevent Nearly 500,000 People From Getting Coverage. Following Trump’s initial cuts to outreach, it was estimated that Trump’s cuts blocked nearly 500,000 people from getting coverage. When fewer healthy people are able to purchase care, experts agree that premiums increase.
  • August 2017: Trump Administration Cuts Aca Advertising Budget By 90 Percent, Despite Evidence That It Will Cause Premiums To Increase. [Vox, 8/31/17]
  • Because The Administration Still Refuses To Adequately Fund Outreach, Insurance Commissioners Warn That Premiums Will Continue To Increase. Peter Lee, the head of California’s ACA Marketplace wrote in a letter to HHS that premiums would go up because of the Administration’s failure to properly fund outreach: “The reality is clear: If the federal government maintains the current cuts in marketing and outreach, premiums will be higher than necessary, consumers will be hurt as a result and taxpayers will pay the price by supporting higher [than] necessary subsidies. This does not need to happen and can easily be avoided…Drops in new enrollment are a formula for a worse risk mix and higher premiums.” [Letter to HHS, 4/25/18]

Months Before The Trump Administration Ended Payments That Helped Lower Income Americans Afford Insurance, The CBO Warned That Doing So Would Raise Premiums By 20 Percent. President Trump Ended Them Anyway:

  • August 2017: CBO Warns That Premiums Will Increase By 20 Percent If Cost-Sharing Reduction Payments Are Terminated. “If President Trump follows through on his threat to stop paying billions of dollars of subsidies critical to insurance plans under the Affordable Care Act, insurance premiums for certain plans would rise by 20 percent next year, according to a new analysis by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.” [Washington Post, 8/15/17]
  • October 2017: Trump Administration Decides To Halt Cost-Sharing Reduction Payments. Despite the CBO’s warning that ending cost-sharing reduction payments (CSRs) would cause premiums to rise by 20%, the Trump Administration decided to do so anyways. [Washington Post, 10/13/17]
  • After The Fact, Insurance Commissioners Did Exactly What The Cbo Said Would Happen — They Raised Premiums. Jessica Altman, Pennsylvania Insurance Commissioner: This is not the situation I hoped we would be in, but due to President Trump’s refusal to make cost-sharing reduction payments for 2018 and Congress’s inaction to appropriate funds, it is the reality that state regulators must face and the reason rate increases will be higher than they should be across the country.” [CNN Money, 10/17/17]
  • Now, Research Confirms That Ending CSRs Caused Premiums To Jump, And Is Expected To Do So Again In 2019. RWJ’s interviews with ten insurance companies found that the loss of cost-sharing reduction plan reimbursements drove premium increases in 2018 ranging from 10 to 20 percent. [Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Urban Institute, 3/19/18]

Republicans Knew That Repealing The Requirement That Most People Have Insurance Would Drive Up Premiums, And Rushed To Do So Without Public Comment:

  • November 2017: Congressional Budget Office (CBO) Estimates That Repealing The Individual Mandate Will Push Premiums Up By 10 Percent Annually. Last fall, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office released numbers that repealing the requirement that most people have insurance would increase premiums by roughly 10 percent each year for the next decade. [Congressional Budget Office, November 2017]
  • November 2017: Sen. Susan Collins Acknowledges That Repealing Individual Mandate Would Raise Premiums. “‘One of the major concerns I had was the impact on premiums of repealing the individual mandate,’ [Collins] said Tuesday, referring to government estimates that repealing the mandate would raise insurance premiums by at least 10 percent as healthier consumers leave the market.” [Talking Points Memo, 11/29/17]
  • December 2017: Republican Senate Hurries To Pass Final Gop Tax Bill, Which Repeals Individual Mandate Despite Cbo Analysis That It Will Drive Premiums Up, In The Dark Of The Night And Without Public Hearings. Senate Republicans were determined to stop discussion on their tax bill from ever seeing the light of day. In December, they passed their tax bill in a matter of weeks, without hearing any public hearings. The process was so rushed that entire pagers were crossed out of the final version of the bill, and amendments were handwritten and barely legible.

After Sen. Collins Exchanged Her Vote On The Tax Bill For A Promise To Pass ACA Stabilization, Republicans Sabotage Bipartisan Efforts To Pass Bill That Would Help Control Premium Hikes:

  • December 2017: To Counteract The Increase In Premiums That Would Follow Repealing The Individual Mandate, Sen. Susan Collins Exchanges Tax Bill Vote For Aca Stabilization Bill. Sen. In exchange for her vote on the GOP tax bill, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, President Trump, and Vice President Trump committed to passing a health care stabilization measure. [Washington Post, 12/15/17]
  • March 2018: After Pushing The Stabilization Vote Into The Next Year, Republicans Refused To Vote On Stabilization Unless Democrats Agreed To A List Of Deal Breaking Demands. In the middle of bipartisan negotiations on stabilization, the White House released its list of demands, including: Expanding the Hyde abortion language, codifying the Administration’s Short-Term proposal into law that undermine protections for people with pre-existing conditions, expanding Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) that is essentially another tax cut for the wealthy, mposing an age tax on older Americans by letting insurers charge people over 50 five times more than younger people. [White House Document, obtained by Politico, 3/8/18]
  • March 2018: There Is No Vote On Stabilization. [New York Magazine, 3/26/18]

Ignoring Warnings From Health Insurers, Trump Administration Proposes Changes To Short-Term Health Plans That Would Drive Up Premiums For Americans In Individual Marketplace:

  • July 2017: In Letter To HHS, America’s Health Insurance Plans Warns That Allowing Short-Term Plans To Offer Coverage For More Than Three Months At A Time Will Drive Up Premiums. “A blanket extension of the permitted length of short term policies will draw lower risk people out of the individual market single risk pool and drive up premium costs for consumers.” [America’s Health Insurance Plans Letter To HHHS, 7/12/17]
  • October 2017: President Trump Signs Executive Order That Expands Access To Short-Term Health Plans. President Trump’s executive order allows short-term plans to last for 12 months and be renewable, a notable change from the previous rule, which limited these plans to three months and prevented them from being renewed. [The Atlantic, 10/12/17]
  • February 2018: Administration Releases Fact Sheet On Short-Term Rule That Would Allow Insurers To Sell Year-Long Plans. [Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, 2/20/18]
  • March 2018: Nonpartisan Urban Institute Says Premiums Will Increase By Nearly 20 Percent. Confirming what experts had warned of, the Urban Institute calculated that increasing the availability of short-term health plans, when combined with the repeal of the individual mandate, would lead premiums to increase by an average of 18.3 percent in 2019. [Urban Institute, March 2019]
  • March 2018: AARP Analysis Projects Short-Term Plans Will Cause Older Americans’ Premiums To Increase By 16.6 Percent. As a result of President Trump and his Republican allies’ pushing junk insurance plans, AARP expects premiums for older Americans buying marketplace health coverage to increase by an average of 16.6 percent in 2019.  [AARP, 3/21/18]

Each Of The Administration’s Decisions Is Designed Drive People Off Of Health Care And Increase Premiums:

  • Katherine Hempstead, health insurance expert at Robert Wood Johnson Foundation: Anything That Undermines The ACA-Compliant Risk Pool Is Bad For Premiums.  “Anything that undermines the ACA-compliant risk pool is bad for premiums in the ACA market…Every exit ramp makes that market more expensive and less competitive than it otherwise would be.” [Modern Healthcare, 4/26/18]

NOW, THE CONSENSUS IS IN: REPUBLICANS KNOWINGLY DROVE UP PREMIUMS

Vox: Republican Sabotage To Blame For Premium Hikes. “The Trump administration’s multifaceted crusade against the health care law — slashing outreach budgets and pulling the law’s cost-sharing reduction payments to insurers — were already to blame for a 20 percent premium hike this year. Then Congress repealed the individual mandate in their tax bill, a huge political victory given the GOP’s vehement opposition to the mandate but one that insurers have said would drive up premiums even more next year.” [Vox, 4/25/18]

Washington Post: “The Pottery Barn Rule Comes To Mind: You Break It, You Own It.” “This is not ‘letting’ Obamacare fail. Many nonpartisan experts believe that these active measures are likely to undermine the pillars of the 2010 law and hasten the collapse of the marketplaces. The Pottery Barn rule comes to mind: You break it, you own it. Yes, the plate you just shattered had some cracks in it. But if you dropped it on the ground, the store is going to blame you.” [Washington Post, 10/13/17]

The American People Agree: President Trump And Congressional Republicans Are Playing Politics With People’s Health Care. A poll conducted last September found that 61 percent of voters believed President Trump was “trying to make the Affordable Care Act fail,” and 64 percent of voters said Trump is “playing politics with people’s health care.” The poll also found that the American people seriously disapprove of how Republicans in Congress are treating health care: 80 percent of voters disapprove while only 20 percent approve. [Garin Poll, 9/5/17]

RECENT HEADLINES PAINT A TELLING PICTURE

EVEN REPUBLICANS ADMIT THEY’RE TO BLAME

Sen. Lamar Alexander: “Rates Will Go Up…They’re Going To Blame Every One Of Us, And They Should.” On the topic of failing to pass a stabilization bill, Sen. Alexander said: “Rates will go up. The individual market will probably collapse…There will be 11 million people who are between jobs, who are self-employed, who are working, who literally cannot afford insurance, and they’re not going to be very happy. And they’re going to blame every one of us, and they should.” [Vox, 4/25/18]

Lindsey Graham: Republicans “Own The Outcome” On Health Care. “Sen. Graham told Breitbart News, ‘In October, premiums are going up. Obamacare cannot be fixed. It’s going to continue to collapse, and then, we own the outcome. By repealing the individual mandate, which is a step forward in the eyes of the public, we own the issue. We have a responsibility to do something about the collapsing Obamacare system. I believe that we’re going to get blamed more than Democrats because we stopped trying to repeal Obamacare, and to suggest that we don’t own it is just simply politically naive.’ Graham continued, ‘It can hurt us in 2018. It can hurt by our base feeling like we betrayed them. It can hurt us from people suffering from Obamacare, like we don’t have a solution. It will energize Democrats. It can undercut everything we did on the tax cut side.'” [Breitbart, 2/6/18]

Rep. Charlie Dent: Republicans “Own” Health Care Now. “Rep. Charlie Dent (R-Pa.) argued Friday that President Trump was ‘ill-advised’ to end key ObamaCare payments, warning that the GOP now ‘owns’ whatever happens to ObamaCare. ‘I think the president is ill-advised to take this course of action because … we, the Republican Party, will own this,’ Dent, a key House moderate who is retiring from Congress at the end of his term, said on CNN. Asked about Trump’s previous comments blaming problems with ObamaCare on former President Barack Obama, Dent pointed out that Republicans currently control the White House and have majorities in both chambers of Congress. ‘Barack Obama is a former president. President Trump is the president and he’s a Republican, and we control the Congress,’ Dent said. ‘So we own the system now. We’re going to have to figure out a way to stabilize this situation … This is on us.'” [The Hill, 10/13/17]

Administrator Verma Rejects Responsibility For Sabotage As Americans Bear Brunt Of Trump Administration’s Damage

SHOT:

CMS Chief Seema Verma Slams Claims That She And Trump Administration Have Sabotaged Americans’ Health Care [MedPage Today]:

“‘I take exception to those out there who have made claims that we have tried to sabotage the healthcare of the American people, particularly when it comes to the healthcare exchanges,’ [Verma] said here at the World Health Care Congress. ‘Obamacare was failing long before Donald Trump became president and I became CMS administrator.’

“The reality, said Verma, is that health insurers have fled the exchange markets ‘after losing millions of dollars.’”

CHASER:

Since President Trump Came Into Office, Millions Of Americans Have Lost Health Coverage. A recent survey by the Commonwealth Fund shows that nearly 4 million people have lost coverage since 2016. The uninsured rate among working age people is now 15.5 percent, a significant increase from 12.7 percent in 2016.

Why? Because The Trump Administration Has Sabotaged The Affordable Care Act. Per Axios, “Commonwealth attributes the increase largely to the way Congress and the Trump administration has handled the ACA.”

CHASER:

More Evidence Of The Administration’s Sabotage: Health Care Premiums Will Increase By An Average of 18.3 Percent In 2019. Because Republicans repealed the requirement that most people have insurance and are expanding access to short-term health plans, the nonpartisan Urban Institute estimates that health care premiums will increase by an average of 18.3 percent in 2019.

CHASER:

The Administration Is Bringing Back Junk Insurance That Leaves Americans On Their Own Should They Get Sick. The Trump Administration expanding access to short-term health plans that let insurers deny coverage to people with pre-existing conditions, impose coverage limits, and refuse to cover basic health benefits like maternity care and prescription drugs. These plans help insurers make money while leaving Americans who get sick on their own, often with tremendous debt.

Experts, Disease Groups, And Advocates Warn That Short-Term Plans Will Increase Costs And Reduce Protections For Consumers:

AARP: Short-Term Plans Will Increase Older Americans’ Premiums By An Average Of $2,000, or As Much As $4,000. “Unfortunately, these changes would result in much higher premiums for older adults and people with preexisting health conditions buying individual policies through the ACA Marketplace…Using 2018 Marketplace premiums, we estimate these premium increases could be an average of $2,000 — or as much as $4,000 (Table 1) — for 60 year-olds who buy silver plan coverage.” [AARP, 3/21/18]

Margaret Murray, CEO of Association for Community Affiliated Plans: Short Term Plans “strip every provision that might be of value to a patient.” “Not only do STLDI plans not cover pre-existing conditions, but what was covered when you bought the plan can be excluded three months later when you try to renew the plan. Rescissions are rampant in the STLDI market, leading to retroactive cancellation of policies that stick patients with enormous medical bills.” [Washington Examiner, 4/26/18]

American Academy of Family Physicians: Short-Term Plans Would Destabilize Market. “We are troubled by how the proposed rule would further destabilize the individual market by drawing young, healthy people away from meaningful, comprehensive coverage…under the proposed rule, insurers could reduce or eliminate certain EHBs to avoid vulnerable, expensive patients by excluding specific services.” [Letter to HHS, 4/18/18]

Dr. David O. Barbe, president of American Medical Association: Short-Term Plans Result In “Inadequate” Health Coverage. “We believe the proposed rule, however, would culminate in plans being offered that fall far short of maintaining crucial state and federal patient protections, disrupt and destabilize the individual health insurance markets, and result in substandard, inadequate health insurance coverage.” [Forbes, 4/22/18]

American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network: Short-Term Plans Are Exempt From Consumer Protections. “We are very concerned about policies that would expand access to STLD policies because these products are exempt from important consumer protections, such as prohibitions on lifetime and annual dollar limits, limits on the use of pre-existing condition exclusions, and the prohibition on medical underwriting…We are afraid that some consumers choose to enroll in STLD policies simply because of the lower premium and are unaware of the limitations of the coverage.” [ACS CAN letter to HHS, 4/20/18]

Alliance of Community Health Plans: Short-Term Plans Will Cause Insurers To Flee The Market.  “ACHP is also concerned that the proposed rule will cause more insurers to flee the market, leaving consumers with fewer coverage options.” [Letter to HHS, 4/19/18]

New Protect Our Care Ad: As Premiums Increase, Americans Should Thank Donald Trump & Congressional Republicans

Washington, D.C. – This year, Protect Our Care is kicking off May’s focus, Repeal and Sabotage Accountability Month, by releasing a web ad highlighting the consequences of Republicans’ deliberate health care repeal and sabotage campaign: a 20 percent rate hike set to hit working families while health insurance and pharmaceutical companies reap the windfalls of the GOP’s trillion-dollar tax break.

“From the moment he took office, President Trump has launched attack after attack on our health care, and Congressional Republicans have been eager to help. They tried to repeal the law; they attempted to undermine open enrollment; they promised to make the law fail; and they’ve proposed expanding junk insurance plans that would take us back to the days when insurance companies could impose sky-high rates on people with pre-existing conditions, or deny them coverage altogether. Now, Republican sabotage has left working people holding the bill. Every American who faces higher health care costs this year and next can thank Donald Trump and Congressional Republicans,” said Protect Our Care Campaign Director Brad Woodhouse.

Watch the ad here.

Ad script:

Are you sick and tired of Washington forcing your health care costs to go up? And up. And up.

For more than a year, Donald Trump and Republicans have sabotaged our health care…

… They ordered the government to dismantle the law.

… Then they made it harder for people to enroll.

… Then they proposed ways for insurance companies to deny care and discriminate against people with pre-existing conditions.

Doctors, patient groups, and health experts say the sabotage has a cost: higher premiums for you and your family – nearly 20% higher or more.

All this while their tax bill gave health insurance and pharmaceutical companies huge tax breaks.

Republicans and President Trump promised premiums would be lower but it’s their sabotage that is jacking up rates 20%.

People who work for a living? They just get higher costs.

And they keep going higher.

Enough is enough. Tell Republicans to stop the sabotage.  End the war on our health care.

Schumer Puts Trump, Republicans On Notice for Upcoming Rate Hikes

Washington, D.C. – Today on the Senate floor, Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) put Republicans on notice: as preliminary rate hikes for next year begin to roll out, Democrats will speak out loudly and often about how  President Trump and Congressional Republicans’ repeal-and-sabotage campaign against Americans’ health care will leave working families holding the bill.

In response, Protect Our Care Campaign Director Brad Woodhouse said: “Sen. Schumer hit the nail on the head – President Trump and his Republican allies in Congress have undertaken a deliberate, aggressive campaign to sow chaos in the health insurance marketplace, and the consequences of their actions will soon become clear. Every American who sees rate hike announcements as soon as next week can thank one group of people: President Trump and Republicans in Congress.”

TRANSCRIPT

“Finally, on another matter, health care. Next week, health insurance companies will begin to announce their initial proposed rates for 2019 in each state across the country. And when they do, every American should remember that President Trump and Congressional Republicans have spent the past year and half trying to sabotage our health care system in a way that could increase costs and decrease access to quality health care.

“It’s true that last summer, the Senate Republican effort to repeal our current health care system and gut Medicaid — an effort that would have left tens of millions uninsured and raised costs on millions more — ended, thankfully for the American people, in failure.

“Despite that legislative failure, President Trump, his administration, and Congressional Republicans have committed several other acts of sabotage, raising premiums and hurting health care, all, it seems to me, for a political vendetta.

“For a long time, the president refused to guarantee that the administration will honor the cost-sharing program, which reduces premiums and out-of-pocket expenses for low-income Americans. He eventually cancelled payments for that program, causing major uncertainty and confusion in the markets.

“Then, Republicans repealed the health care coverage requirement as a part of their tax bill and put nothing in its place. The CBO projects that repealing the coverage requirement could cause rates to increase by as much as 10% and result in millions more people without insurance, so if you can’t get insurance, Mr. or Mrs. American, or if your premiums are going up you’ll know who caused it: the president, and Congressional Republicans by sabotaging a law that the majority of Americans want to see stay on the books.

“And making things worse, earlier this week, the comment period ended for a proposed Trump administration rule that is perhaps that most radical sabotage of our health care system yet — a rule that would expand the availability of junk insurance plans. These junk insurance plans would force higher premiums on people with pre-existing conditions, impose an “age tax” on older Americans, and once again could subject Americans to the devastating effects of medical bankruptcy, which too many people go through now. Many plans might not cover essential services like prescription drugs, maternity care, and mental health services.

“Each of these actions taken by President Trump and Republicans in Congress will raise costs and reduce access. We are truly living under “Trumpcare” today, with no effort by the president or Congressional Republicans to make it better.

“And, unfortunately, starting next week, the American people could see the devastating consequences of a year and half of health care sabotage reflected in the 2019 rates.”

The People Who Know Health Care the Best Say Short-Term Plans Are the Worst

Yesterday marked the deadline for comments to be submitted on the Trump Administration’s proposed short-term scam insurance. A wide variety of health care experts – including doctors, insurance exchange operators, insurance companies, analysts, and more than 100 patient groups – continue to make clear their strong opposition to the Administration’s proposal. Here’s what they had to say:

American Medical Association: Proposed Rule “Would Result In Substandard, Inadequate Health Insurance Coverage.” “We believe the proposed rule, however, would culminate in plans being offered that fall far short of maintaining crucial state and federal patient protections, disrupt and destabilize the individual health insurance markets, and result in substandard, inadequate health insurance coverage.” [Forbes, 4/22/18]

American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, American Heart Association, American Liver Foundation, American Lung Association, Arthritis Foundation, Autism Speaks, Chron’s & Colitis Foundation, Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, Epilepsy Foundation, Family Voices, Hemophilia Federation of America, Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, Lutheran Services in America, March of Dimes, Mended Little Hearts, NAMI, National Health Council, National Multiple Sclerosis Society, National Organization for Rare Disorders, National Patient Advocacy Foundation, National Psoriasis Foundation: “Given The History Of Discrimination And Inadequate Coverage Within Short-term Limited-duration Plans, We Are Deeply Concerned That The Proposed Rule Could Seriously Undermine The Key Principles Of Access, Adequacy, And Affordability That Are The Underpinnings Of Current Law – And Put Those We Represent At Enormous Risk.” “Given the history of discrimination and inadequate coverage within short-term limited-duration plans, we are deeply concerned that the proposed rule could seriously undermine the key principles of access, adequacy, and affordability that are the underpinnings of current law – and put those we represent at enormous risk. We urge the Departments to withdraw the proposed rule until the needs of our populations are met and instead, to focus on stabilizing the individual insurance markets and lowering premiums for QHPs.” [ACS-CAN, 4/23]

American Academy Of Family Physicians: “Short-Term, Limited-Duration Plans Will Not Provide Meaningful Insurance Coverage.” “The AAFP strongly opposes the proposed rule since it allows plans to sell low-value insurance policies that could subject patients to catastrophic medical bills and medical bankruptcy. We oppose efforts to exempt short-term, limited-duration plans from consumer protections such as covering preexisting conditions or essential health benefits (EHBs). Furthermore, we oppose allowing any plans to establish caps on annual benefits since limiting benefits can expose patients to extraordinarily high out-of-pocket costs… The AAFP has significant concerns with these proposals since short-term, limited-duration plans will not provide meaningful insurance coverage. While these plans could increase the availability and affordability of services, we do not think doing so should come at the expense of meaningful insurance coverage.” [AFP, 4/18]

America’s Health Insurance Plans: “Not A Replacement For Comprehensive Coverage.” “‘We are concerned that this proposed rule will lead to more people being uninsured and under-insured, and to higher costs in the long run,’ AHIP chief executive Matt Eyles said. ‘Short-term plans can provide an important temporary bridge for Americans who are transitioning between plans. But they are not a replacement for comprehensive coverage.’” [Forbes, 4/23]

Alliance Of Community Health Plans: “The Proposed Rule Will Undermine Consumer Protections.” “The proposed rule will undermine consumer protections because short-term, limited duration plans do not require coverage of essential health benefits or coverage of pre-existing conditions. There is a substantial risk that consumers will not understand the coverage limitations that accompany short term plans. Contracts for medical coverage can be quite complex, and consumers may assume that essential health benefits are covered by short-term, limited duration plans, but for a shorter period of time. This could lead to consumers purchasing health insurance that is inadequate for their medical needs, potentially resulting in personal bankruptcy and an increase in uncompensated care for hospitals and other facilities. There is evidence of this connection between coverage and personal financial status: A Consumer Reports study found that increased health care coverage over the past several years was associated with a reduction by half in the number of personal bankruptcy filings. With the increased use of short-term, limited duration plans, we anticipate a troubling reversal of this trend.” [ACHP, 4/19/18]

American Cancer Society-Cancer Action Network: “We Believe That The Proposed Rule Should Be Withdrawn.” “We are very concerned about policies that would expand access to STLD policies because these products are exempt from important consumer protections, such as prohibitions on lifetime and annual dollar limits, limits on the use of pre-existing condition exclusions, and the prohibition on medical underwriting. These protections are key to ensuring that individuals with cancer (including those in active treatment and survivors) have access to quality health care needed to treat their disease. Without these protections, individuals could find themselves enrolled in policies that fail to provide coverage of medically necessary services. We believe this proposed rule should be withdrawn unless the needs of the patient community have been met.” [ACS CAN, 4/20/18]

American Hospital Association And Federation Of American Hosptials: “Concerned That The Result Will Be Increased Uncompensated Care.” “The American Hospital Association and the Federation of American Hospitals said the proposed rule, if finalized, would drain hospitals’ resources. The federation, which represents investor-owned hospitals, said its members ‘are concerned that the result will be increased uncompensated care, particularly for patients who need uncovered services or treatment for preexisting conditions.’” [Modern Health Care, 4/23]

Association for Community Affiliated Plans: Rule WIll Harm Consumers And Health Care Providers. “The Association for Community Affiliated Plans, a group representing safety-net plans that cover Medicaid, Medicare special-needs and marketplace members, warned that finalizing the rule as proposed would harm consumers and healthcare providers. The group warned that sellers of short-term plans have been known to rescind coverage as soon as an individual becomes ill and files a substantial claim. The space has been riddled with patient lawsuits over unpaid medical bills. ACAP pointed to the recent 42-state investigation into the business and marketing practices of Tokio Marine’s HCC Life subsidiary, a short-term medical insurer. Earlier this month, HCC Life reached a settlement to pay a fine of $5 million. The insurer is also prohibited from selling short-term plans for at least five years. ACAP also warned that skimpy short-term plan benefits would lead to increased uncompensated care.” [Modern Health Care, 4/23]

Heather Korbulic, Silver State Health Insurance Exchange Director: “Deeply Concerned” About Proposed Rule. “The head of Nevada’s health insurance exchange is ‘deeply concerned’ about a proposed federal rule change that would extend the length of short-term health plans, saying in a Friday letter to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services that the policy will likely result in higher premiums for people who purchase insurance on the exchange… Korbulic is just one of many in the health-care field nationwide who has expressed concern that approving the federal rule will siphon off the healthiest individuals from the individual market, leaving behind a sicker, more expensive population. In the letter to CMS, Korbulic wrote that individuals with pre-existing conditions or who anticipate needing medical care will likely remain on the exchange where they can purchase plans with comprehensive health benefits but will likely face premium increases.” [Nevada Independent, 4/23]

American Heart Advocacy: Patients “Will Suffer If This Rule Becomes Law.” “Today is the deadline to tell HHS not to extend short-term health plans. The outcome is clear — Patients living with CVD, stroke survivors and others with pre-existing conditions will suffer if this rule becomes law.” [American Heart Advocacy, 4/23/18]

Matt Slonaker, Utah Health Policy Project Executive Director: Short-Term Plans Designed To Weaken ACA. “Matt Slonaker is the executive director of the Utah Health Policy Project. He said the new plans are a way to weaken the health law. ‘Unfortunately what is happening here is the short-term insurance idea is being used as a guise to erode some of the protections of the Affordable Care Act,’ Slonaker said.” [KUER, 4/23]

Tanji Northrup, Assistant Commissioner of the Utah Insurance Department: Short-Term Plans Could Increase Premiums By Double-Digits. “Tanji Northrup is the Assistant Commissioner of the Utah Insurance Department. She says these new plans will pull people out of ACA plans and make them more expensive. ‘There will definitely be increases because of pulling those healthy people out of the traditional market,’ Northrup said… Northrup says if these short-term plans go through, Affordable Care Act rates could increase by double-digits. She says no insurers in Utah have contacted her department yet to develop these new plans.” [KUER, 4/23]

Mario Molina, Former CEO of Molina Healthcare: Hopefully You Already Have Kids Because Maternity Care Won’t Be Covered. “Hopefully, you had kids already, because under the short-term health plan expansion encouraged by an executive order signed last year, covered maternity care vanishes in 100% of plans analyzed by [the Kaiser Family Foundation]” [Mario Molina, 4/23/18]

Blue Cross Blue Shield Association: Significant Concerns. “[BCBS] has significant concerns that allowing consumers to stay on these plans for a full year ‘would cause rates to increase for those who need or want comprehensive health insurance coverage.'” [Washington Post, 4/24/18]

Larry Levitt, Kaiser Family Foundation Senior Vice President: “These Short-Term Policy Brochures Read Like An Obstacle Course Of Exclusions.” [Washington Post, 4/23/18]

Kaiser Family Foundation: Analysis: Most Short-Term Health Plans Don’t Cover Drug Treatment or Prescription Drugs, and None Cover Maternity Care. “A new Kaiser Family Foundation analysis of short-term, limited duration health plans for sale through two major national online brokers finds big gaps in the benefits they offer. Through an executive order and proposed new regulations, the Trump Administration is seeking to encourage broader use of short-term, limited duration health plans as a cheaper alternative to individual market plans that comply with the Affordable Care Act’s requirements. Repeal of the individual mandate penalty – which currently applies to people buying short-term plans – is also expected to boost enrollment starting next year. The analysis examines 24 distinct short-term insurance products currently marketed in 45 states and the District of Columbia through eHealth or Agile Health Insurance. It finds: 43 percent do not cover mental health services; 62 percent do not cover substance abuse treatment; 71 percent do not cover outpatient prescription drugs; and none of the plans cover maternity care.” [Kaiser Family Foundation, 4/23]

Washington Post: Trump Proposal Could Mean Healthy People Save On Insurance While Others Get Priced Out. “The Trump administration’s proposal to build up short-term health insurance plans as a ‘lifeline’ for people who can’t afford Affordable Care Act coverage could split the insurance market in two, siphoning young, healthy people into cheaper, more minimal plans — while those who remain in ACA plans face premiums that spiral upward even faster… The effects of that policy change, combined with zeroing out the individual mandate’s financial penalty in 2019 will be harmful to the most vulnerable patients, according to more than 100 patient groups and many health policy wonks.” [Washington Post, 4/23]

Las Vegas Sun: Health Experts Concerned About Risks Of Limited-duration Health Plans. “People would be able to stay on a type of sub-par temporary health plan longer under a proposed Trump administration rule, sparking a concern that the plans won’t give consumers sufficient coverage. The proposal would lift the cap on short-term limited duration plans from six months to just under a year to give more options to consumers who cannot afford the rising cost of health care, according to the Department of Health and Human Services and other agencies involved. The plans can be much cheaper, but do not carry Obamacare-required benefits such as coverage for preexisting conditions.” [Las Vegas Sun, 4/23]

The Hill: Insurer Group Issues Warning On Trump Administration’s Short-Term Health Plan Proposal. “The nation’s largest trade group for health insurance companies is sounding the alarm on a proposal from the Trump administration that would expand the sale of plans that cover fewer services.  America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) says the proposal could lead to more people being uninsured or underinsured and result in higher health-care costs in the long run.” [The Hill, 4/23]

Forbes: Health Insurers: Trump’s Short-Term Plans Will Trigger Loss Of Coverage. “The Trump administration’s proposed cheaper short-term plans may not provide adequate coverage and would trigger an increase in the number of uninsured and under-insured Americans, say health insurers that would be expected to sell such coverage. Through their lobby, America’s Health Insurance Plans, companies Monday were the latest to weigh in on the Trump administration’s proposed rule on short-term plans… Health insurance companies Monday morning issued their critique of the Trump administration’s proposal, joining a parade of doctor groups concerned about any effort to reduce coverage or pare benefits.” [Forbes, 4/23]

Healthcare Dive: Payer Trade Groups Slam Short-term Health Plan Proposal. “The Alliance of Community Health Plans (ACHP) and America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) both slammed CMS’ proposal to expand short-term, limited duration (STLD) insurance plans, saying the proposed rule would undermine key consumer protections, lead to higher premiums in the individual market and jeopardize market stability.  The proposed rule, pushed by the Trump administration as a way to increase access to cheaper plan alternatives and sidestep the Affordable Care Act, would allow consumers to purchase plans for up to 12 months that do not adhere to federal rules for individual health insurance. STLD plans can charge those with pre-existing conditions more and may not cover ACA essential health benefits such as prescription drug coverage. The insurance lobbies argued that other policy mechanisms would be more effective at improving the individual health insurance market.” [Healthcare Div, 4/23]

Washington Times: Insurers’ Lobby Asks Trump To Curtail Short-term Insurance Plan. “Health insurers’ main lobbying group urged the Trump administration Monday to curtail its push to let Americans get around Obamacare by purchasing cheap ‘short-term’ plans for a full year, saying consumers will be left with skimpy coverage. Matt Eyles, the incoming president and CEO of America’s Health Insurance Plans, also said the plan — if it proceeds — should not be enacted until 2020, so insurers have time to plan for a reconfigured marketplace.” [Washington Times, 4/23]

Washington Examiner: Trump-Backed Short-Term Health Plans Have Big Gaps In Benefits, Analysis Finds. “Short-term health insurance plans that the Trump administration wants to expand don’t offer the same benefits of Obamacare plans, a new analysis found. A study from the health research firm Kaiser Family Foundation looked at how short-term plans cover the same benefits as Obamacare. The healthcare law requires plans sold on Obamacare’s insurance exchanges to cover 10 essential health benefits that include mental health services, prescription drug coverage, and maternity care. The Trump administration is seeking to expand the duration of the short-term plans from 90 days to nearly 12 months. These plans are cheaper than Obamacare plans because in part they do not have to cover as many benefits.” [Washington Examiner, 4/23]

Forbes: Doctors Attack Trump’s Short-Term Health Plans Ahead Of Comment Deadline. “An effort by the Trump administration to introduce cheaper short-term health insurance plans is under attack by physician groups who see the plans eliminating benefits and putting patient health at risk. The American Academy of Family Physicians and other doctor groups have unleashed detailed critiques of Trump’s effort to introduce cheaper health insurance with skimpier benefits ahead of a Monday deadline at 5 pm to provide public comments to the administration.” [Forbes, 4/22]

Vox: If You Need Prescriptions Or Maternity Care, You Won’t Like Trump’s Short-term Insurance Plans. “Short-term plans are much less likely to cover mental health and substance abuse treatment or prescription drugs — all of which must be covered by ACA plans. What is insurance, you might ask, if it doesn’t cover medications? This is also a setback for the ongoing effort to have mental health and substance abuse treated as equal to other physical health needs.” [Vox, 4/23/18]

Healthcare Dive: Report Finds Most Short-term Plans Don’t Cover Maternity, Substance Misuse Care. “A Kaiser Family Foundation report argues that recent efforts to promote short-term plans could have an adverse effect on the Affordable Care Act-compliant individual market, creating higher premiums for compliant plans and potentially leaving a greater number of people uninsured.  The expansion of short-term plans, along with the elimination of the individual mandate penalty, could also make it difficult for people who need behavioral health services and substance misuse treatment, which aren’t typically covered benefits under those plans. The Trump administration’s plans for short-term expansion would primarily impact the middle class, as lower-income people are protected from premium increases through the use of federal subsidies, KFF said.” [Healthcare Dive, 4/24]

Insurance News Net: Trump Administration Implored To Curtail Short-Term Plan. “Health insurers, patient groups and Senate Democrats implored the Trump administration Monday to curb or cancel its push to let Americans get around Obamacare by using cheaper, short-term health plans for a full year, saying the plan would destabilize the insurance markets and increase the number of uninsured… More than 100 patient-advocacy groups protested the proposal Monday, the final day to submit comments to HHS, noting the full-year plans could duck Obamacare rules requiring robust coverage or preventing insurers from denying sicker patients or charging them more than healthy ones.” [Insurance News Net, 4/24]

Modern Health Care: Insurers, Hospitals Warn Short-term Plans Aren’t The Answer. “Several health insurance and hospital associations urged HHS to spike the proposed rule to expand access to short-term, limited-duration health insurance, warning it would lead to higher premiums for Affordable Care Act-compliant plans and more uncompensated care delivered at hospitals. Meanwhile, stakeholders in the short-term insurance market encouraged HHS to finalize the proposed rule allowing the sale of short-term plans with durations of up to 12 months, saying the extension would lead to lower premiums and more options for consumers. It is clear those stakeholders would see more customers and higher revenue if the proposed rule is finalized.” [Modern Health Care, 4/23]

Washington Examiner: Healthcare Groups Plea With Trump Administration To Nix Short-Term Insurance Plan Rule.  “A wide array of doctor, insurer, and other major healthcare groups pleaded with the Trump administration to nix plans to expand short-term insurance plans… Healthcare groups say in comments to the proposed regulation, which were due Monday, the plans are no better than “junk insurance” that erode patient protections. The regulation would expand the duration of the short-term plans from 90 days to nearly 12 months.” [Washington Examiner, 4/23]

47 Senators: The Proposed Rule Will “Increase Costs And Reduce Access To Quality Coverage For Millions Of Americans, Harm People With Pre-Existing Conditions, And Force Premium Increases On Older Americans.” “If finalized, the rule could increase costs and reduce access to quality coverage for millions of Americans, harm people with pre-existing conditions, and force premium increases on older Americans. This rule expands the sale and marketing of “junk plans” that exclude basic benefits including hospitalization, prescription drugs, mental health services, substance abuse treatment, and maternity care. We urge you not to finalize the proposed rule and instead work with us to ensure that all American families have choices of affordable, meaningful health care coverage.” [State of Reform, 4/23]